Friday, April 06, 2007

Airport Expansion

This is certainly needed if our airport is to ever grow into its name, and relieve Sacramento residents from the increasingly difficult drive to the Bay Area for international flights.

Airport plans leap across I-5
Expansion would add parking lot, shuttle service over freeway.
By Tony Bizjak - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, April 6, 2007

Sacramento International Airport, increasingly crowded and in need of new facilities, is planning a historic leap over Interstate 5 to build a massive new parking lot.

Officials say the 13,800-space lot and a new car rental complex will kick-start a $1 billion airport expansion to keep up with Sacramento growth and compete with Bay Area airports for Northern California fliers.

"We looked at our options and decided we needed to go south of I-5," said Rob Leonard, assistant director of Sacramento County airports. "It makes sense."

Leonard said the airport will lose a significant amount of parking in its core area as early as next year when new terminal construction begins.

Leapfrogging the freeway, he said, will compensate for those losses and help position the airport for an expected 40 percent growth to 14 million passengers annually by 2020.

The county, which operates the airport, owns the 209-acre site and most of the adjoining land south of the airport between I-5 and the Sacramento River.

Shuttle buses would ferry people over the freeway to terminals, and officials say they expect the ride to take only marginally longer than shuttles serving current closer-in lots.

Over the long run, airport officials envision a second airport hotel on the south side of the freeway, as well as offices and other commercial ventures.